Over the years we have heard many great boxers announce their retirements but only to find their way back into the ring not too long afterwards. Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns, and even Floyd Mayweather Jr. all fall into this category. Although it looks like Mayweather’s current retirement (his second) seems permanent as he’s focused on promoting fights instead of participating in them. This time around, Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2) is the latest big name boxer to claim that he’s walking away from the ring. He said as much both before and after last weekend’s victory over Timothy Bradley (33-2-1).
If boxing history has taught us anything is that you never say never, especially when it comes to retirement. While Pacquiao is determined to be elected to the senate in his native Philippines, and while I do believe him when he says he will devote plenty of time to his family, I have to believe that at some point down the line there will either be a fighter with a big enough name, or Top Rank Promotions will come up with enough money to get “Pac Man” back in the ring. And there are five reasons why I believe that to be the case…
1. Last Saturday Manny looked like the dominant Manny we all came to know. He showed so signs of the shoulder injury that derailed him against Mayweather last year, he definitely didn’t look like he was 37-years-old, and Bradley even admitted that Pacquiao “outsmarted me”. That doesn’t sound like somebody who’s ready to hang it up.
2. After his victory Pacquiao was awarded with a championship belt. The WBO International Welterweight Championship is the 28th title of Pacquiao’s legendary career. If the World Boxing Council felt that Manny was truly done with his career, they probably wouldn’t have let him walk out of Las Vegas with one of their belts.
3. Pacquiao is still a big draw. His pay-per-view buys at minimum are in the six-figure range, he sells out every venue he fights in, he gets worldwide media coverage, and even his weigh-in’s have become an event in their own right. Again, doesn’t sound like somebody who’s ready for retirement.
4. His homophobic comments recently upset millions of people and cost him his endorsement deal with Nike, but he still has a legion of fans and is still respected in the sports world.
5. There are quite a few fighters who would love to get in the ring with “Pac Man”….. Amir Khan (31-3, WBC International and Silver Welterweight Champion) moved up to welterweight in the hopes of fighting Pacquiao someday, Kell Brook (36-0, IBF Welterweight Champion) wants to put his undefeated record to the ultimate test, and of course everyone wants to see a rematch with Mayweather. And that’s just the short list.
Ultimately it will be Pacquiao’s decision whether or not he truly hangs up his gloves. But there are many -including this writer- who think that he still has a couple of big money fights left in him.